Must-see Places in the Maldives
March 20 2019
March 20 2019
Named amongst the best destinations in the world time and time again, the Maldives has an unrivalled allure, with dreamlike luxury resorts and sublime tropical surrounds that make it irresistible for discerning travellers seeking tranquillity.
Arguably one of the most romantic destinations in the world, it’s no secret that the Maldives is popular amongst honeymooners and couples looking for a magical getaway. But it’s an equally exceptional holiday destination for families looking to spend quality time amid exotic scenery and surrounded by sapphire-blue waters. What few realise is that it’s also a sensational destination for gourmets, wild-hearted adventurers, history buffs and art enthusiasts.
With that in mind, here are some of the must-see places in the Maldives:
Many travellers touch down in the Maldives and head straight to their exclusive resort islands, but what they don’t know, is how much they are actually missing out by not seeing Malé. The incredible, albeit densely populated, capital has so much personality, with vivid buildings, local restaurants, interesting bars and a multitude of sites that are sure to keep you busy.
By far one of the best places to visit in the Maldives and perfect for travellers who enjoy art, history, architecture and cultural experiences, Malé is conveniently close to the island that houses the international airport (more on this below). It also has a protected ocean pool and wonderful historical and cultural sites. The top places to visit in the Maldives, specifically in Malé, are:
The Artificial Beach
Malé is a bustling city and doesn’t actually have a natural beach. To ensure guests can still get a swim in the ocean, a man-made beach was created, called the Artificial Beach. Water sports, fabulous eateries and an array of activities are on offer here which makes it a top place to visit in the Maldives.
This main road in Malé is a fabulous place to do a little street shopping, where you can find everything from fashion and jewellery to local crafts. The shops boast wonderfully long hours and have some excellent little eateries nearby.
The Tsunami Monument
Created to pay tribute to those that lost their lives in the 2004 tsunami, this very special monument is located along the coast, overlooking the dazzling Indian Ocean and is one of the best places in the Maldives to experience the sunset.
The Malé National Museum
Located in the heart of Malé, this incredible museum houses a vast collection of historical artefacts, precious to the Indian Ocean archipelago. The building, which spans three stories, is part of the Maldivian Royal Palace compound and is filled with incredible art and collectable pieces from throughout the centuries making it one of the best places to visit in the Maldives.
Grand Friday Mosque
This striking mosque is absolutely spellbinding, created with white marble and finished with a golden dome. It’s important to visit outside of prayer times and to always dress appropriately, but it’s well worth the effort. This huge mosque can fit up to 5 000 people at a time and also houses an Islamic centre, conference room and library.
The Malé Fish Market
A popular tourist attraction, the Malé Fish Market is where the local fishermen sell their daily catches and where you can get the freshest fish around. It gives fabulous insight into the lives of the locals.
Another of the top places to visit in the Maldives and a stone’s throw from the country’s capital, Hulhumalé Island is home to the international airport (which is also the gateway to many of the resort islands) and is a small city but one that is constantly growing, as more land is reclaimed. Despite this, however, it’s actually an amazingly intriguing place, with a beautiful (yet, artificial beach) on the eastern shore, a stunning mosque, leafy suburbs and a promenade path that rises above the Indian Ocean.
Despite what the glossy travel magazines might have you believe, the islands in and around the Maldives are not all home to immaculate, luxury resorts and 5-star hotels. In fact, there are a few local islands that are definitely worth exploring. One of the best places to visit in the Maldives for those that would like an authentically Maldivian experience is Maafushi Island. This charming local island was hit hard by the tsunami in 2004, but it has been rebuilding ever since.
Apart from fishing jetties and quaint local houses, you can now find small local guesthouses on Maafushi, that previously didn’t exist. These make for awesome off-the-beaten-path lodges for travellers on a budget. Naturally, as is the case with most of the islands in the Maldives, you can be assured of soft, sandy beaches, sparkling azure waters and a selection of local food and drink outlets as well as a wealth of water-based activities.
One of the ultimate must-see places in the Maldives is definitely Banana Reef, located in the North Malé Atoll. Today Banana Reef is known around the world as one of the best diving spots—it was actually the first diving spot in the Maldives that put licensed diving and training on the map. The stunning reef, which is shaped like a banana, teems with a magical array of vibrant marine life and corals and is also home to thrilling overhangs and caves. The range of activities offered here includes scuba diving, snorkelling and jet skiing.
Located in the north of the Haa Alif Atoll, Utheemu is a significant place, largely due to its role in history, making it one of the must-see places in the Maldives. This stunning island actually was home to Sultan Mohamed Thakurufaanu, best known for his role in driving out the Portuguese in the 16th century. White shores, tropical waters and palm-fringed beaches are part and parcel of the experience but it’s specifically special because of Utheemu Ganduvaru, the timber palace where the Sultan spend his youth.
Well known for its airport, the second biggest airport in the Maldives, Gan is also famous for the fact that it served as an airbase during WWII for the British Royal Air Force. Today, Gan is one of the most popular places to visit in the Maldives, especially in the Addu Atoll. With local restaurants serving glorious Maldivian food and little stretches of beach that are crowd-free, it’s a fabulous place to experience.
Imbued with a magical aura, Kanuhura is the epitome of island luxury. This sublime five-star island resort has everything you could possibly need for a trip of a lifetime, with delectable dining options, stylish decor, luxe amenities, unique experiences, a world-class spa and more. Equally perfect for couples and families, you can spend the day diving and snorkelling, partaking in one of the daily programme activities, indulge in gourmet experiences or simply relish the feeling of tranquillity as you soak up the sun on one of the power-fine beaches, Kanuhura promises a holiday you will never forget.